NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wisconsin, where US President Donald Trump is holding rallies over the weekend, recorded a record increase in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, while the state of New York reported a worrying increase in positive coronavirus tests in 20 ‘ hot spots. ‘
The 3,000 new infections reported in Wisconsin fear fears the large number of new patients could overwhelm hospitals. Florida, which has four times as many people as Wisconsin, reported 2,628 new cases Thursday.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order to ease licensing rules in an effort to bolster the number of health care workers able to cope with the growing crisis.
“Our emergency department has had several cases in the past week where it was beyond capacity and needed to place patients in beds in the hallways,” Bellin Health, which operates a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said in a statement. Its intensive care unit has been full or almost full for a week, it said.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief physician at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said the state’s outbreak started in younger people and has now spread through the community.
“Public gatherings of all kinds are dangerous right now, more than they have been at any time during this epidemic,” he told CNN on Thursday.
Signs that the pandemic is getting worse in the Upper Midwest in abundance. Wisconsin and North Dakota both reported a record number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Thursday, while South Dakota also reported a record number of new cases.
New cases of COVID-19 increased in 27 out of 50 U.S. states in September compared to August, with a 111% increase in Wisconsin, according to a Reuters analysis.
In New York, which struggled with the world’s most violent outbreak earlier this year, officials said they were concerned about clusters of cases in 20 areas across the state, where the average of positive tests rose to 6.5% from 5.5% that day. before .
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy urged residents to download a new volunteer contact tracking app launched Thursday on their smartphones. The app, COVID Alert, uses Bluetooth technology to tell users if they have recently been near someone who later tested positive for coronavirus.
Many of New York’s 20 hotspots – half of which are in New York City – include Orthodox Jewish communities. Cuomo said he spoke with community leaders about enforcing social distancing measures.
“A cluster today could become societal dispersal tomorrow,” Cuomo said at a briefing with reporters. “These zip codes are not hermetically sealed.”
He asked local authorities to step up enforcement measures. “If they are not wearing masks, they should be fined,” Cuomo said.
Wisconsin health officials are urging residents to stay home and avoid large gatherings ahead of Trump’s weekend rallies in Janesville and Green Bay during the Nov. 3 election.
An indoor Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June likely contributed to a subsequent increase in cases there, city health officials have said.
In addition to the Midwest, Western states also face spikes in coronavirus cases. Montana on Thursday reported a record increase in cases for the second day in a row and had a record number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Maria Caspani in New York and Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Clip by Bill Berkrot and Rosalba O’Brien